The reform of the naming law is a fact. Starting in May, married couples will be able to share a double name and pass it on to their children.

A doorbell sign for a residential building

The main thing is that the name still has space on the ringtone. Photo: Sepp Spiegl/imago

SEDAN dpa | In Germany, people will in future have more freedom of choice if they want to change their name, for example when getting married or adopting. The Bundestag voted on Friday in Berlin with the votes of the government factions SPD, Greens and FDP in favor of a reform of the naming law. The AfD voted against.

In the future, married couples should be able to share a double name and children will also be able to have a double name, either hyphenated or unhyphenated. Under current law, only the spouse can have a double surname; children, generally, do not.

The current naming law is very restrictive, especially in international comparison, and “due to the diverse realities of contemporary life, it no longer meets the needs of families,” the new law says.

Many things are changing for children too. In the future, divorced children and stepchildren will be able to easily change their mother's or father's surname, as explained by Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP). Adult children can change from one parent's last name to the other parent's last name. In the future there will be more room for the special naming traditions of minorities such as the Sorbs, Danes and Frisians.

The new regulations should apply from May 1, 2025. These are only name changes with family ties, which are regulated by civil law. This includes questions that arise as a result of marriage, divorce, birth or adoption.